The only feeling I had was of a trembling heart, as my eyes blinked themselves to life with a still body. I looked at my husband with a questioning glance as he woke up with a feeling much like mine. He gave my fear an approval. All I could do was to stay still without even a hint of movement but my lips trembled with the shaking of Earth. They moved themselves with the remembrance of Allaah out of fear of unexpected. I looked at my girls and found them fast asleep. After the earth gained composure, I found a chance to make myself mobile. Later, I couldn’t sleep. Till now…
As the quake lulled itself to sleep, it left me insomniac. My gaze was lost into the void. I showered myself with endless “what if’s” – all revolving around: what if I would have opened my eyes to the most apparently-easiest-questions of munkar and nakeer? And what did I do so far to answer them easily? Did I even live by those questions? There is so much on my to-do list which was urgent and needed yet I piled them up for a future that is not approaching any sooner? And what not…
I then realized how severely negligent we are in terms of our obligations and responsibilities. Such incidences are a reminder for us. Alhamdulillah! Every trial is a test for a believer. It makes us better Muslims till the time we are still taking breaths of life and sanity.
As The Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) said:
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Muslim).
What to do when natural disaster strikes?
Few possible recommendations on occasions like these; based on the acts of our beloved Prophet (PBUH), sahaaba, taabioon and the scholars of the Ummah:
1. Make Du’a
Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said, when the wind blew strongly:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مِنْ خَيْرِهَا وَخَيْرِ مَا فِيهَا وَخَيْرِ مَا أُرْسِلَتْ بِهِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّهَا وَشَرِّ مَا فِيهَا وَشَرِّ مَا أُرْسِلَتْ بِهِ
“O Allaah, I ask You for its good and the good of what is in it and the good of what it is sent with, and I seek refuge in You from its evil and the evil of what is in it and the evil of what it is sent with.” (Muslim)
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
“What must be done at the time of an earthquake or other calamity, or an eclipse, strong wind or flood is to:
- repent to Allaah, may He be glorified
- beseech Him and ask Him for well-being
- to remember Him a great deal and ask Him for forgiveness”
As the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said at the time of an eclipse:
“When you see that, then turn to remembrance of Allaah and call upon Him and ask for His forgiveness.” (Bukhaari).
3. Give Charity
Show compassion to the poor and needy, and give charity to them, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“…Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens…” (Tirmidhi)
It was reported that when there was an earthquake, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Azeez (may Allaah have mercy on him) would write to his governors telling them to give in charity.
It took a while for my eyes to adjust to an intact ceiling, thanking Allaah I’m not smothered underneath a rubble because I definitely heard the quakes threatening to crack it in half.
Yet I’m still alive and breathing. I still have time. So I bend these sinful knees before my Lord amidst forgiveness and gratitude, regrets and promises…